Published: 06:00, 23 July 2020
A proposed garden village will feature 1,000 fewer homes than previously expected, the latest plans reveal.
Fresh proposals for the huge Heathlands Garden Community - which would be built in phases at Lenham Heath over 20 years and more - confirm a rather less ambitious vision for the project.
When the scheme first came to light 5,000 residential properties were planned, to be served by a new junction on the M20 and a railway station connecting the new community to HS1.
Now, with the number of homes slashed by 20%, it has been confirmed that those transport links will not go ahead. Plans for a new secondary school have also been dropped.
Instead the garden village would utilise capacity at the existing secondary school in Lenham, while transport needs would be met by building new road links to the A20 and the use of existing Lenham and Charing mainline railway stations.
The masterplan does however suggest a new station could be built on the line in future, closer to the centre.
Save Our Heath Lands, a pressure group representing concerned neighbours, has described the scheme as “unviable and undeliverable.”
Maidstone Borough Council is acting as the master-developer for the project, which means it takes a controlling interest in the land, leads the design process, enables the required infrastructure, identifies suitable development partners and oversees the stewardship of the new community.
The updated plans also reveal the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on future housing developments, proposing high-speed fibre broadband be installed as standard to allow residents to work from home.
To view the revised vision for Heathlands, which is still at an early stage of development, visit tinyurl.com/heathlandsplan.